Ayton was seen in warmups practicing some half-court shots as the team prepared for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
One video showed him doing a granny shot from half court and sinking it. The early crowd at the Phoenix Suns Arena cheered the young center as he celebrated making the shot.
The third-year player has been a major part of the Suns’ success against the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals. Ayton is averaging 20.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in the series against Los Angeles. He also had the game-winner in Game 1.
“I thought Deandre’s presence, his effort, the rebounding, shot-blocking, his communication on defense, switching out on smaller guys and being able to guard them, he was the catalyst on the defensive end,” Suns coach Monty Williams said Sunday. “I thought it was an unreal performance from him. Our guys rallied around him.”
He added: “Every possession he’s playing like his life depends on it.”
The 2021 NBA Playoffs are the first of his career. The 22-year-old is averaging 16.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and nearly 1 block per game in the 14 playoff games.
With a win on Monday, Phoenix could move onto their first NBA Finals since 1993.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.